SSWN Open Access 2020: It’s About Time–Initial Findings From a Feasibility Study of a Time-Study Tool for School Social Workers in Michigan
Editor’s Note: As part of our big push to bring you the most open-access research content we can in 2020, we kick things off close to home with a journal that I help edit, the International Journal of School Social Work (IJSSW). This journal has been published since 2016, and all 4 volumes of the journal are available here. We will be focusing on IJSSW Vol. 4 articles in January/February 2020, starting with this one I did with my good friend and SSW leader, Steven Whitmore.
Kelly, Michael S. & Whitmore, Steven (2019). “It’s About Time: Initial Findings From a Feasibility Study of a Time-Study Tool for School Social Workers in Michigan,” International Journal of School Social Work: Vol. 4: Iss. 1. https://doi.org/10.4148/2161-4148.1041
What is your study about?
This article talks about the development of a workload time study tool, a community of practice that tested the tool, the results from the time studies with this group, and the insights we gleaned from the participants.
What did you find?
We found that the time study tool was an effective way to enhance social workers’ understanding of how they use their time, the importance of various duties that they have in their jobs, and their ability to have data to generate discussions with other team members and administrators.
Why is the study important?
|For one of the first times in SSW literature, this study shares how a group of SSWs have spent their time to provide services to their caseload student and those not on their caseloads. |
The data from this group showed the amount of time spent on direct services (25%) in comparison to non-direct services (75%). While this is not necessarily transferable to other groups of SSWs, the article demonstrates how SSWs are able to use a tool such as this to better understand what they do and share that with others.
By participating in a Community of Practice (CoP), the study also shows how SSWs are able to benefit from an examination of data and discussion of various practice aspects.
The study raises awareness to non-social workers of the workload versus caseload issues that are the reality of school social work practice.
What can school social workers do with this study?
|Consider using a time study tool individually, or as a department to have discussions about their services, and utilization of those services by the community. Note: A web-accessible Time Study Tool has been developed by SSWN: https://sswtools.schoolsocialwork.net/ |
Share the article with administrators and other educational professional to increase the professional understanding of the school social work scope of practice.
Start a virtual community of practice via the SSWNetwork, a 100% free social media site run by the co-editors of SSWN that already has 2,200 school clinicians on it. Free link to join here.
What do you plan to do next?
I hope to develop another community of practice in the next year in which we replicate the study using the SSWN tool with a local group of school of social workers. There is also consideration of creating a national community of practice.Its-About-Time_-A-SSW-Time-Study-Tool-1